Not so long ago, data management was the prerogative of computer scientists, statisticians, and other technicians… Today, it is obvious that data has become so important in our society, that everyone should have the basics, including non-technical people This is called having the data culture or simply be data literate.
Data literacy in a company is a way of thinking and working.
It’s a way to use data to become better informed and make better decisions.
Being data literate is becoming a key skill in the professional world. It is estimated that by 2025, 70% of employees will be data intensive. Unfortunately, 60% find that the training offered to them is still insufficient (Forrester study for Tableau).
How can a company develop its data culture?
The democratization of data
The idea is simple: make the data accessible and understandable for everyone.
Instead of restricting access to data to data scientists, anyone can access the data and applications that they feel are relevant. All employees have access to a complete and simple visualization of the databases.
Unlike a top-down approach where leadership imposes the use of tools that are more or less easy to use, this method encourages people to take an interest in the data and to take initiatives. It allows for the exploration of new opportunities that would have remained hidden if access to the data was restricted.
As data becomes more democratic, processes become more automated as everyone collaborates, communicates and understands each other more easily.
The tool that makes it possible to share knowledge of the data and its semantics is the data catalog.
The benefits of data democratization include:
- An increase in the success rate of data analysis projects due to a better knowledge and understanding of the information assets.
- Better collaboration between business and IT.
- From the point of view of the technical professions: less isolation, a better image, a gain in credibility.
- From a business point of view: gain in IT skills, better productivity, better understanding of the analysts’ work.
- A general craze for working with data.
- An undeniable competitive advantage.
Data literacy and data governance
While a data culture may develop informally and naturally in companies, it develops in a more organized way as part of a data governance program. Acculturation is even inherent to any serious data governance approach.
A data governance program requires data acculturation from its initiation phase. Educational training or coaching sessions help raise awareness of data issues in general.
The acculturation of all business lines to data contributes to a better knowledge of the value of data and can be the source of the development of new projects around data, technical or not. In the context of data governance, this acculturation allows the various business units to understand theimportance of documenting data.
Data culture and change management
Since a data governance program is supposed to change the way a company works, there are change management processes involved: changing the corporate culture around data use is one of them.
Data literacy should be seen as a driver of change management in a data governance program.
Data culture is a decision culture
As opposed to big data, where volume is paramount, data culture refers to a working environment where data quality and reliability prevail. Data literacy is about data collection, analysis, and visualization to make better decisions.
One of its objectives is to allow everyone to identify problems with the data used on a daily basis, in order to solve them quickly and at low cost. It is therefore an imperative of any data strategy, whether it is app-centric, data-driven or especially data-centric.
In a world where the weight of data continues to grow, the companies with the best data culture are the most competitive. They can adapt quickly to the use of new technologies while remaining at the cutting edge and are more resistant to crises: pandemics, stock market crashes, wars…